Ti trovi qui: Home » International news

Study and research stay in Costa Rica for 12 Unimore students

12 Unimore students have left for a unique experience in Costa Rica where they will participate in the 'Field School - Costa Rica 2023'. The School, now in its second year after a two-year suspension of activity caused by the pandemic emergency, sees twice as many students involved as in 2020.

In particular, the participants involved belong to the Bachelor's Degree Programme in Natural Sciences (9 students) and the Master's Degree Programme in Didactic and Communication of Sciences (1 student) of the Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences and the Bachelor's Degree Programme in Biological Sciences (1 student) and the Master's Degree Programme in Experimental and Applied Biology (1 student) of the Department of Life Sciences.

The students, who left on Monday 16 January, will stay for over three weeks in Costa Rica where they will be able to discover some of Costa Rica's diverse natural realities guided by Unimore scholars Luca Lombroso, Matteo Dal Zotto, Giuseppe Romeo, Dario Sonetti and members of the Modenese association “Foreste per Sempre ODV”.

The Field School will consist of interactive lectures on methods of investigation in various areas of the natural sciences, with a focus on fauna and flora, tropical meteorology and climate change, and field applications.

The initiative will mainly take place in the Karen Mogensen Reserve, a protected area of around 1,000 hectares, managed by the local conservation association Asepaleco, where various investigations have recently been conducted and are still in progress, mainly in the areas of zoology, botany and meteorology.

These studies largely depended on the creation of the “Italia Costa Rica” research station, which was also set up thanks to funds raised by Foreste per Sempre and sponsored by Unimore with the specific aim of studying tropical biodiversity and the effects that environmental and climate changes can have on it. For more than six years, a weather station and a webcam have been sending data to the Unimore Geophysical Observatory, providing information on the area's weather and climate variability.

The "Italia Costa Rica" Biological Weather and Climate Station in the Karen Mogensen Reserve,’ say Prof. Dario Sonetti, Scientific Director of this facility since the beginning of the year, and Dr. Matteo Dal Zotto, promoter within the Natural Sciences degree programme and co-organiser of the Field School, ‘will be a privileged venue for the implementation of this initiative for Unimore students, who will have the unique opportunity to experience totally in contact with one of the richest realities of tropical biodiversity what they are usually forced to learn only from books. This is an educational experience that, for anyone studying natural sciences, should be a must. As with other students who have worked in this area for their dissertations, they will return to Italy with a cognitive and professional background that will undoubtedly contribute fruitfully to their future work and life.’

The Field School, - comments Luca Lombroso of the DIEF Unimore Geophysical Observatory, - will be an opportunity to show students the fundamentals of tropical meteorology and climatology, thanks to the five years of data collected so far. According to the latest research, the “Hadley cell”, which regulates circulation in the tropics but is also connected to weather in the mid-latitudes, has expanded by about 2-4 degrees latitude. If this trend continues, it could have a major social impact, but also ecological changes in plants, insects or animals.”

During the Field School, the students will also visit other protected areas in Costa Rica: from the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve , a pristine strip of coastline and forest on the Pacific Ocean, to the Palo Verde National Park , with wetlands and the mouth of one of the country's main rivers, the Volcán Tenorio National Park and the Miravalles National Park , characterised by the impressive misty forest, which reaches an altitude of almost 2,000 metres and where, among others, the Baird's jaguar and tapir live, to the Cahuita National Park , located along the Caribbean coast and created to protect the country's main coral reef.

Participants will get to know the local staff of the parks and protected areas, discovering additional research activities conducted in habitats representative of a small part of the natural wealth of what is considered the country with the highest biodiversity density in the world.

‘We are very proud - says Prof. Annalisa Ferretti, President of the Interclass Council in Natural Sciences and Science Education and Communication - that the students have again so enthusiastically accepted our challenge to work directly in the field, even within a protected area that has already provided valuable information to the scientific community. The Field School, a collaboration between degree programmes of the Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences and the Department of Life Sciences, in synergy with the association Foreste per Sempre, will put our students in close contact with tropical biodiversity, the dynamics of the current climate system and the effects of its change. Participants will keep a kind of “logbook” of their activities on the degree programme's S4EDU Facebook/Instagram page. Some of them will translate this experience into Thesis projects, testifying to the close synergy existing between Education and Research within Unimore’.

This is an extraordinarily interesting opportunity for our students, a reality that stems from the University's initiative and experience - says Prof. Annamaria Mercuri, President of the Master's Degree Programme in Experimental and Applied Biology - and which confirms the great sensitivity and expertise of the lecturers in the field of floristic and animal biodiversity. In these times of rapid transformations of ecosystems and the need to mitigate the anthropogenic impact on the environment, the Field School, which was born out of the cooperation between the departments that deal with these issues in their curricula, Chemical and Geological Sciences and Life Sciences, brings students to encounter an exceptional example of species diversity, the relationships in a tropical environment and the close relationship between ecosystem dynamics and the response to ongoing climate change’.  

The Costa Rican Field School will be an extraordinary opportunity for Biological Sciences students - says Prof. Vincenzo Zappavigna, President of the Biological Sciences degree programme - to gain first-hand, field experience in the fields of environmental biology and biodiversity conservation. An opportunity for not only professional but also personal growth. In fact, according to the testimonies of those who have participated in past years, it is a unique experience that will leave a lasting impression on their personal and professional lives, whatever field of biology the students will go on to work in in their future careers'.

The Field School in Costa Rica will be recognised as part of the university internship, under an active agreement between the association Foreste per Sempre and Unimore.

Categorie: International - english

Articolo pubblicato da: Ufficio Stampa Unimore - ufficiostampa@unimore.it il 19/01/2023